Rio Ferdinand starts a boxing career

Image Nick Potts

Former Manchester United and England global defender Rio Ferdinand has announced he is becoming a professional boxer at the age of 38, despite no previous ring experience.

The Telegraph broke the story and this morning the former Manchester United defender confirmed the news while revealing that it was a venture in association with Betfair, and that it would, unfortunately, be titled "Defender to Contender".

Boxing promoter, Barry Hearn, believes Ferdinand only has a 50/50 chance of even being awarded a licence given his lack of experience and denounces the former footballer's efforts as a publicity stunt for a reality TV show. I have always had a passion for it and this challenge is the ideal opportunity to show people what's possible. Former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in 2012.

Rio Ferdinand faces a huge transformation from retired footballer to professional boxer but his hulking physique should give him a head start.

"Betfair came to us and put the challenge to us and said would you fancy becoming a boxer?"

If the changing of his profession to be a professional boxer is true, Ferdinand will follow the path of former British cricket athlete Andrew Flintoff who recorded only one fight in the ring when beating United States boxer Richard Dawson at Manchester Arena in November 2012.

"I was completely surprised". I have not been able to replace it. "I want to test myself in a another sport". "When ya get ur licence back Tyson Fury?!".

He added: 'I'm simply happier when I " m in the gym and working out, and I think everything else flows better when I'm doing that.

Betfair is preparing Ferdinand by assembling a team of world-class boxing and conditioning experts to support him throughout the journey, including former WBC super-middleweight Champion turned Team GB trainer Richie Woodhall. It was Betfair who successfully backed Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton's transition from cyclist to jockey only a couple of years ago.

Ferdinand is not the first sportsman to move into the fight game.

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